Catchin’ Up…with Charlie Brown


By Joshua Price/Sports Editor

Charles Brown coached football, basketball and baseball from 1961 to 1990. He began his coaching career at Altoona High School and retired from West End High School after the 1990 school year.

“Charlie” or “Cholley” graduated from Emma Sansom High School in 1953, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball.

Brown played football under Floyd “K.O.” Miller at Emma Sansom.He played guard and was offered a football scholarship to Jacksonville [State] Teacher’s College and Livingston during his senior season at Sansom. Because the scholarships did not cover the costs for living and personal funds were low, Brown refused the offers.

Brown enlisted in the United States Army in 1954 and served two years in Germany. When he returned, Brown worked at the steel plant in Gadsden to support his young family and started undergraduate coursework on the G.I. Bill.

“I worked 40 hours a week and attended classes at Jacksonville full time,” Brown recalled. “It was hard on me, but moreso on my family. I kept working at it and finished school in three and a half years.”

Brown finished Jacksonville in the spring of 1961 and was immediately offered a job as an assistant football coach at Altoona High School by head coach Ben Perkins. Brown served as head coach of the Choc basketball and baseball team during his two-year tenure.

Brown worked as an assistant under E.C. “Baldy” Wilson at Glencoe before accepting the head coaching (football) at Gaylesville High School.

Brown coached at Collinsville, Cordova, Vinemont, Falkville and Brewer before finishing his career at West End in 1990.

Brown is best known as a head football coach; however, the coach found much success as a basketball and baseball coach. Brown’s teams won many county championships in the two
sports over his 29-year career, including two in basketball at Altoona.

Since retiring from education and coaching in the spring of 1990, Brown has managed to stay active. Despite suffering a heart attack a few years back, the old coach insists his health is under control.

“I play golf four or five days per week,” Brown said. “I walk a mile or two everyday to keep my health up and diet well to manage my cholesterol.”

Brown was involved in a car accident a few years ago and suffered serious neck damages.

“The car accident hurt my neck, but the doctor fixed me right up and, with some recovery and rehabilitation, put me right back out there [playing golf].”

Brown insists that the accident did not effect his swing. He added that it did not help it either.

“I was hoping the surgery would improve my swing,” Brown said chuckling, “but I was wrong.”

Brown is very active in the Alabama City community. He volunteers at the Elliot Community Nutrition Center everyday, serving lunches to senior citizens.

“The nutrition center really keeps me busy,” Brown said. “Since my wife died, it is a great relief for me to be around other people and help them. I come here everyday and help out. My job here is to help organize the plates and who gets them to keep order. I also prepare drinks such as milk for the guests. It’s a great feeling to help out around here.”

The old coach hurried me away, of course, because he had an appointment with some friends on the links.

It was good to catch up with Charlie Brown.

Joshua Price can be reached at

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